Ocean Architecture Interview

Ocean-Architecture

Ocean Architecture, in a sense, represents where I would like to see progressive metal go in the future. Although their sound references many of the bands fans of the genre are no doubt already familiar with, they are not content to simply rehash the ideas of the legends. Hearing about this band through the band’s keyboardist, Until Sunrise member and friend Joe Dorsey, I was immediately impressed by their debut “Animus” for their ability to fuse ‘classic’ ideas and contemporary styles into something truly relevant to the current music scene. Joe Dorsey responded to some questions I had about the band and what they’re all about.

What’s the band name Ocean Architecture all about? How did you choose it?

Joe: We came up with a couple different names, one even being Animus, which of course ended up being our album title. I don’t remember the other ones, but we settled on Ocean Architecture. We felt the two words represented both the ambient/atmospheric side and the heavy, more grounded and structured side of our music. We thought it the potential to paint picture of our music in someone’s head, even if they had never heard us.

How did the band form? From what I know, you were all fairly experienced musicians before this band came to be.

Joe: Nic (drums), Kyle (guitar), and I (keys) all met within a span of a weekend, late in the summer of 2010, right as the fall semester was starting at MTSU. The three of us happened to live in the same dorm, and we also happened to become friends really early on. After discovering we had similarly diverse music tastes, we decided on jamming together. The Area Coordinator of Lyon Hall was nice enough to let us practice in the basement common area of the dorm, as long as we didn’t piss anyone off, which miraculously never happened. I knew Eric (bass) and Parker (vocals) from a few months back when we met in customs at the college, and we immediately recruited Eric.

We struggled through the following winter to find a vocalist; so many people tried out, but nothing seemed to fit. Our first vocalist was named Cedric Dzameshie, but he didn’t work out after a few months of recording demos. Then we realized, “why haven’t we asked Parker?” who was, at the time, a mutual acquaintance to all of us. At this point we were panicking, since our first show was approaching, and we didn’t have a vocalist, so we asking to do this one with us. He was hesitant, as he never had any experience with progressive metal, as a musician or a listener, but agreed to do the one show. After that weekend in Chattanooga, we had so much fun as a band: everything felt right, and Parker knew that as well. So he kept playing with us, and has been with us ever since!

We were all musicians before we joined the band. Most of us had never had formal training though, in fact Kyle had only been playing guitar for 3 years, and had never played in a band before. It blew our minds how quickly he progressed as a guitarist even after we formed the band.

I would describe your sound as a mix of modern styles under the flag of progressive metal. How would you describe yourselves to someone who has never heard you before?

Joe: That sounds about right. I guess if I were to tell someone about my group, I would describe it as modern progressive metal, with punk, ambient, jazz, and classical influences.

Animus

Within just over a year of Ocean Architecture coming together as a band, you already had the debut “Animus” in the works- an album that’s been receiving quite a bit of positive attention in the progressive community. What was entailed on making so much progress in a relatively short amount of time?

Joe: Honestly, we don’t know, we feel very lucky and blessed for the attention. There has been a lot of hard work put into making and marketing the record, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with it as well. It’s interviews like this that help our name get out there (thanks Conor!)

You describe “Animus” as “a musical entity that tells an unfolding story about doubt, anger, perception, confusion, fear, insanity, and enlightenment.” Is there a particular narrative being told here, or is this album concept intended to remain fairly open to the listener’s own interpretation?

Joe: The concept is meant to be very loose, conveying general ideas. Though there are lots of lyrical and musical subtleties/connections riddled throughout the album meant to engage the listener. One of the main themes of the record is about escaping a downward spiral of depression and confusion due to introversion, or “hiding in your own mind” and dealing with the real world by communicating and reaching out to people; Columns of Time and Steel Ecstasy: Columns Collapse are meant to be one narrative: A man builds a sanctuary in his own mind and hides there from his problems. The place collapses and is driven back into the real world, but also driven mad. He constructs an isolation tank and locks himself in. Animus Part 1, Part 2, and Metatheory (in that order) are also meant to be their own narrative, thus creating a spiral effect within the album itself. Then its up to the listener whether they are locked in to the narrative and the fantasy world of our record, or if they accept the ending of Animus Part 2 and go on with the rest of their day. None of what I said probably makes any sense, so go listen to the record/read the lyrics, and decide what you think our record means.

To my knowledge, Ocean Architecture is not the first band for at least some of you, with ‘piano man’ Joe Dorsey having been part of Until Sunrise and vocalist Parker Deal originally coming from Beautiful Dying Day. Is the creative process any different with Ocean Architecture than in these previous bands?

Joe: The dynamic of any band is different from another. I think it really depends on who you’re working with. I can’t speak for Parker, but there is one think Until Sunrise and Ocean Architecture have in common creatively: spontaneous inspiration

According to your bio, you have already shared the stage with Veil of Maya and Born of Osiris. How did you get those gigs?

Joe: A friend of ours named Clint Gee was in a Metalcore group called Ancients (not to be confused with the post-rock group) who were one of the dominant metal bands in Nashville. He secured us the opening slot for the Born of Osiris “Discovery” tour which included all Sumerian Records bands: Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, Struc/tures, and Betraying the Martyrs.

What advice would you give to other musicians, bands, and young artists trying to make music or have others hear their music?

Joe: Always stay optimistic, and truly believe in making it. It sounds cheesy, but staying positive was the only way our record even happened. If you aren’t patient, don’t work well with others, or believe in a non-stressful work environment, this line of work is not for you. Also, try to have as much fun as you can, and treat a band like a group of friends instead of a business.

Favourite beers? Favourite cheeseburgers?

Joe: Favorite beers: Delirium Tremens, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Magic Hat #9 are three of my top beers

Favorite cheeseburgers: Five guys. Duh.

What have you been listening to lately? I’ve been listening to Fen’s “Dustwalker”, an absolute killer of an album. You might like it, Joe!

Joe: I have not heard that release yet, I should check it out! I’ve personally been listening to the Swans discography (especially The Seer and White Light From The Mouth of Infinity), Bon Iver’s self titled, Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes, Utopia by Distorted Harmony, Death of a Dead Day by Sikth, The Raven that Refused to Sing by SW, Maps of Non-Existent Places by Thank You Scientist, and The Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens.

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